Culpable Homicide and Murder are the two major offences under the Indian penal Code (IPC). Before knowing the difference between Culpable Homicide and Murder, you should know about the term called "Homicide."

Homicide refers to the killing of a human being and it is broadly classified into two types: Lawful Homicide (justified by law) and Unlawful Homicide (not justified by law). Both culpable homicide and murder fall under unlawful homicide.

All murders are culpable homicides but not all culpable homicides are murders. Let us understand the difference between these two offences from the post below.

What is the Difference Between Culpable Homicide and Murder?

Under section 299, the Culpable Homicide is defined as whoever causes death by doing an act 

  • with the intention of causing death, (or)
  • with the intention of causing bodily injury as is likely to cause death, (or)
  • with the knowledge of an act likely to cause death

Under section 300, murder is defined as whoever causes death by doing an act

  • with the intention of causing death (or)
  • causing bodily injury as the offender knows to be likely to cause the death of a person (or)
  • Intentionally causing a bodily injury which is sufficient to cause death (or)
  • With the knowledge that act done is sufficiently dangerous and in all probability cause death

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Factual Difference Between Culpable Homicide and Murder

In Culpable Homicide, the intention and the probability of causing death are less whereas in Murder, the intention and the probability of causing death are high.

For example, A attacked B with a blunt knife, and similarly C attacked D with a sharp knife.

A used blunt knife to kill B: In this case, the probability of causing death is very low. This will fall under section 299 i.e. Culpable Homicide.

C used a sharp knife to kill D: In this case, the chance of causing death is high. Therefore, this offence will fall under section 300 i.e. murder.

The offender must have the intention of causing bodily harm which is likely to cause death. This kind of intention is called Culpable Homicide.

In murder, the offender must know that his actions will cause death or the bodily injury which is sufficient to cause death.

Exceptions where Culpable Homicide is not Considered as Murder

If the person is proved guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt, then he can take any one of the following exceptions to fall under Culpable Homicide only.

  • Grave and Sudden Provocation
  • Right of private defense
  • Public servant acting in good faith
  • In Exercise of legal power
  • No premeditation in a sudden quarrel

Example to Understand the Difference Between Culpable Homicide and Murder 

An offender named X used a sharp weapon on the vital part of the body of Y.  Also, the offender has the knowledge that his actions will cause death. Naturally, this injury is sufficient to cause the death of Y. This kind of death is called "Murder".

On the other hand, Y used a blunt weapon like a stick or stone to kill X. Injuries are caused in the strong part of the body and the probability of causing death is less. This kind of death is called Culpable Homicide.